First Scrap Wood and Still Life project: our faux brick wall

As mentioned on my new web page, Scrap Wood and Still Life, I’m making a more concerted effort to bring joy to folks with my DIY projects and painting. (Follow along on Instagram, @scrapwoodandstilllife.)

My first attempt at bringing readers DIY posts was a couple years ago through a blog series called Home Sweet Farmhouse Home that coincided with the release of my novel, Lead Me Home. It was so much fun that I’m starting it back up again.

Besides a unique way to be creative and love on our homes, I think folks are drawn to DIY and farmhouse themes because restoration touches on our innate longing to know that no matter how messy we are, can be renewed and restored by God’s grace (Psalm 51). Such themes also touch on the fact that we are made in the image of the Lord (Genesis 1:27). Since He is the ultimate Creator, no wonder many of us feel called to create!

On to the project: our faux brick wall

Recently we installed a faux brick wall in our basement stairwell. This was super fun and truly one of the easiest home improvement projects I have tackled to date.

Here’s the wall we started with. It’s mostly stripped bare of the gallery wall I had there before, but even then it was pretty blasé. For 12 years I’ve been wanting to do something creative with the space, because it is open and visible to anyone who comes in, and the little shelf-like area was just begging to be something useful.

After surfing Pinterest for hours and hours, I decided on a faux brick wall with my own version of a German Schmear treatment.

Here’s how I did it.*

Source list and tools (not an exhaustive list):

Liquid Nails makes this project a breeze. Make sure you get the Liquid Nails made for putting up paneling–there are a lot of different kinds. Some DIY sites recommend nailing as well, but if you use the Liquid Nails as directed, I’m pretty sure the paneling won’t go anywhere.

Once the panels were up and given a day or so to dry, I applied plenty of spackling paste to the seams of the paneling, and then randomly in other places. This is where my process differs from a lot of others you’ll see, which spackle all over the brick. I just applied it sporadically.

Then I simply painted over it all with the chalk paint. I left some spots bare and painted some more lightly than others. I just eyeballed it until I was happy with the coverage and look.

Some people want the whole wall to be white, which is a little cleaner looking. Others prefer to let more red hang out, for a more rustic or industrial look. The important thing is to use your imagination and have fun with it!

Finally, caulk all the edges.

I used a 2×6 cut to the length of the shelf, a 1×4 as the shelf back, and stained them with Minwax’s Jacobean, one of my favorite shades of their stains.

Here’s a couple of close-ups:

I added a couple of paintings I made, which were inspired by my cousins’ dairy farm, also the inspiration behind my novel, Lead Me Home:

The real life Red:

Let me know if you try this project!

And if this inspires you, have fun!

Be blessed and celebrate your creativeness, friends!

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*Please refer to the main Scrap Wood and Still Life page for an important disclaimer. 

Lead Me Home #bookgiveaway and $0.99 e-book special!

It’s the pinnacle of summer, brimming with homemade ice cream, backyard barbecues, kids catching fireflies in the small town park as they wait for fireworks, and evenings on the front porch swing. 

It’s 4th of July weekend, and the only thing else you need is a good book.

Well, I’m happy to oblige you with a month-long e-book sale and prize package giveaway of my novel, Lead Me Home, the perfect book for summer, set in the sweltering heat of the fictional, heartland town of Sycamore, Indiana. There’s tragedy and romance, a little suspense and heartache, a few cute cows and a lot of hope.

To enter the contest, there are two simple rules:

1) POST THE LINK to this blog post AND ONE OF THE PICTURES BELOW on Instagram or Twitter ALONG WITH THE HASHTAG #LeadMeHomeNovelSpecial.

2) Tag THREE friends in each post. 

You can enter more than once on either Twitter or Instagram, as long as you tag three different book-loving friends each time. I will collect all the names of the entrants and announce the winner on the morning of July 4th.

Winners must will receive a signed copy of Lead Me Home, the barn wood framed sign in this picture, and a $10 Dairy Queen gift card. (Sorry, I’m not giving up the typewriter!)

The great news is if you don’t win, you have through July 31 to buy the e-book for less than a buck at your favorite e-book retailer. (Click here.)

Now that’s something to set off a few fireworks about, don’t you think?


Home Sweet Farmhouse Home, Episode 6: Fireplace reveal!

Hi dear friends! Thank you for stopping to read this final episode of this summer, and part 2 of last week’s Home Sweet Farmhouse Home.

(For all the episodes of Home Sweet Farmhouse Home click here.)

If you remember, last week I showed the first stages of our fireplace surround makeover. It was a nice fireplace, but it was ten years old. Besides that, I’m FREAKING OUT because my firstborn is going to COLLEGE in less than a month and so I’m redecorating my house to cope. (Because nothing helps stress like adding more stress, right?)

Also, because my third novel is set on a farm, I want to pretend I live on one, too.

Here are three more of the inspiration photos I found on Pinterest. You can see all my decorating pins by clicking here.

Dream fireplace #1:

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Dream fireplace #2:

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Dream fireplace #3:

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Those are some lofty goals right there.

But I love a challenge.

Last week I showed you how I chose the river rock for the bottom of the surround.

Below is the wood planking I found at Lowe’s to use for the shiplap.

While it would be an expensive product for covering an entire room, it was perfect for the tiny space above the mantel. I only had to use one and one-half packs. The pieces are pre-cut into various sizes and they fit together tongue-and-groove style.

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I didn’t have to make any cuts to these planks because I got lucky and they fit the space I needed them to perfectly.

And I used basic trim nails to hang them.

See how they come in different sized pieces so that a staggered look is made simple, too?

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The other thing I love about these planks is that they are really thin.

This helped the 1×3 poplar I chose to frame them compliment them perfectly.

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All up and caulked.

I love caulk.

Caulk makes everything better.

Even amateur carpentry.

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Because the planks I used are not traditional shiplap and I wanted to create a patina of age and wear, I painted the grooves with plain black acrylic paint.

Then when I painted over with white, I purposely left imperfections.

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But before I show you that…

…on to the grout.

I was terrified to put the grout on the stones. I was afraid it would run all over the carpet or that I’d picked the wrong color or that the stones would “get lost” in it and I’d never be able to wipe it off right.

I didn’t need to be skeered, though.

The Kind Man from Lowe’s and the directions on the back of the stone tile were most helpful. Here are some of the products and tools I used.

NOTE: Make sure you get SANDED GROUT. There’s a HUGE difference between this and the un-sanded variety and take it from me, it’s not pretty.

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Here’s the grout, all mixed up.

The consistency reminded me of cake batter.

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Below is a shot of the first stages of grout application.

This is when I started to get skeered again.

The rocks disappeared!

It was so messy!

I had it in my hair and in my teeth and all over the dogs.

I felt like I was a little kid who got out of the ocean and rolled in the sand.

That’s how messy it got.

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Lots of wiping and sponging is involved.

And more wiping and sponging after that.

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But finally, I started feeling like I was getting someplace.

Someplace wonderful.

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This whole project reminds me so much of the way my novel-writing goes.

I get inspired.

I dig in.

I freak out.

And somehow, after the giant mess of it all…

…something beautiful emerges.

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Here’s the before picture again:

 

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And here’s the after.

I thought I might need a new piece of art to hang in the middle of the shiplap, but I really love this print of the man and woman praying.

On a farm.

So I kept it.

*LURVE*

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Now I have a farmhouse-ish fireplace to match my farm-inspired book. (Have you read it yet? 🙂 )


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What about you?

What inspires you and your creativity?

What DIY projects are you working on at your place?

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Thank you for reading this fun little Home Sweet Farmhouse Home blog series. I’m taking the rest of the summer off of projects so I can finish my fourth novel and carve my heart out of my chest get my firstborn off to college. But after that, I may have some more projects to share with you. Would you like that?

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And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:17